London has no shortage of areas that are a marvel to wonder around yet have been completely neglected by its inhabitants who seem to only know of Soho and other zone 1 areas – and Clapham is certainly one of them. Not only does it have the Common (this vast area of green space), but it has quite a buzzing food scene too.
Type: Modern British
Camera: Nikkon D80, Nikkor 50mm lens
The Dairy has, as many restaurants in the Old Town bit of Clapham, an area that extends outside on the pavement, which was absolutely great on a sunny day. It looks towards the Common, and is also just great for people watching (can’t I have some eye candy whilst luncheoning?).
From the get-go, the Dairy tries to establish that, at least when it comes to presentation, it wants to be different and better than most. As I await for my order to be taken, a single pod of pea with an elderflower sauce was brought on a piece of bark. Many of the other dishes came in similar ways, on rocks or, at the very least, in plates made of rock. It was very reminiscent of Blumenthal’s kitchen and ways of presenting – a bit too much for me, but I definitely appreciated it being different than your run-of-the-mill restaurant.
The food, modern British, has obviously been “designed” by someone with a lot of knowledge about flavours and how they mix – the chicken liver parfait, for example, had pieces of apple and something similar to apricot jam in the mix, which not only added to the texture but the sweetness of the apricot and the freshness of the apple counter-balanced the heaviness of the liver. The same great understanding of the nature of the dishes is evident in everything else.
But, for some reason, the execution falls short of the design. Presentation wise it’s all beautiful, but many of the dishes ended up with me feeling as if I’ve had a little bit too much. Which can’t be from the size of the dish, as they are all rather medium towards small (Except for the parfait which I think was a bit too much). British cuisine has a typical “heaviness” to it that needs to be countered if a restaurant wants to take it to the next level. The chicken liver parfait, the lamb, even the dessert, it all ended up overpowering my taste buds.